Delhi voted in the Assembly election on February 8, after weeks of a charged campaign that often skirted the urgent issues of public services and development in favour of hatemongering. Though three major parties were in the fray – the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Aam Aadmi party – the exit polls seemingly confirm the perception, shared by observers and voters, that it was really a fight between the incumbent AAP and the BJP.
In the campaign, while the BJP sought to polarise the electorate, using the Shaheen Bagh protest against the new citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens to whip up communal animosity, AAP pushed its governance record of improving education and healthcare in the capital.
The exit polls show it was a winning strategy from AAP: the party is predicted to bag anywhere between 44 and 68 of the 70 seats on offer.
The election witnessed a voter turnout of 61.7 percent, lower than in both 2013 and 2015 Assembly elections.
So, did the exit polls have it right? We’ll know soon.
Get the latest results as they come in. And follow how they are covered by TV news channels.
EC numbers: AAP's won in 17 constituencies so far, BJP in 1.
On India Today, anchor Rajdeep Sardesai and Axis My India Chairman Pradeep Gupta break into a victory dance to celebrate the channel’s exit poll prediction. Axis had predicted a range of 59 to 68 for AAP, the party is currently leading in 68 seats. Axis has had a consistent success rate. Cue to Pradeep Gupta dancing to Badshah.
Numbers coming in on the EC website. The AAP has won 5 seats so far, the BJP none.
According to the EC website, the AAP is leading in 60 constituencies and the BJP in 10.
In the 12th round of counting, News18 reports, Manish Sisodia is leading by over 2,000 votes against the BJP's Ravinder Singh Negi in Patparganj.
Rajdeep Sardesai says he met Amit Shah at a wedding recently and told him: 'Sir, aap buri tarah se haar rahe ho (You're losing badly).' Rajdeep adds: 'Around me there was silence all around.'
On India Today, Rajdeep Sardesai is feeding kaju katli to everyone on the panel. The first barfi goes to Axis My India's Pradeep Gupta for getting the 'polls right, at least for the voteshare'. Sardesai says the seat tally may also go up to the range Axis had suggested -- between 59 to 68 for AAP.
'We tried our best but, probably, we could not convince the people of the state': BJP MP Gautam Gambhir congratulates the AAP.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan congratulates Kejriwal and the AAP, says the victory should be 'a harbinger for pro-people and inclusive politics in our country'.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says: 'We were not trying to win Delhi. Our only objective was to show that Congress is still a party in Delhi and win a few seats.'
On Zee News, Sudhir Chaudhary says: 'Free' is the new business model of Indian politics. There is no need to pay anything now. This word will echo in every state election that will follow.
On Republic TV, anchor Arnab Goswami says AAP's Manish Sisodia is losing his seat because he supported Shaheen Bagh. On the EC website, Sisodia is trailing by 1,288 votes.
Jaiveer Shergill, national spokesperson of the Congress, says the Congress must not justify its own defeat or find happiness in the BJP's defeat.
Celebratory scenes at the AAP office in Delhi.
Saurabh Bhardwaj, AAP candidate from Greater Kailash, is currently in the NDTV studio. He jokes that he has a special responsibility towards NDTV since their office is headquartered in his constituency. He’s leading with about 1,000 votes.
Meanwhile, outside the AAP office in Delhi...
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee says she's congratulated Kejriwal, adds that 'CAA, NRC and NPR will be rejected', Quint reports.
DMK president MK Stalin congratulates Kejriwal and AAP, says it's a 'clear vindication that development trumps communal politics'.
Sambit Patra tells Times Now the BJP could have done better. 'Let me keep my fingers crossed, hoping much would not solve our purpose...'
Navika Kumar: 'You had five years to introspect and plan. If you want to do that only now, it's your choice.'
Prashant Kishor thanks Delhi for 'standing up to protect the soul of India'.
At the BJP Delhi office, party workers look on as TV channels broadcast that the AAP is leading.
The Congress's Sharmistha Mukherjee says the party has been 'decimated' in Delhi. She blames decision-making delays at the top, lack of stategy and unity at state-level, demotivated workers.
Zee News says the AAP is leading in '7 out of 9 seats where there is more than 20% Muslim population'.
Zee News anchor Sudhir Chaudhary speaks to Kanchan Gupta, former journalist, current ORF fellow, and chairman of the Raja Rammohun Roy National Agency, on BJP’s campaign strategy. He asks if the PM or Amit Shah’s brand value has been dented. Gupta says no. “Modi ji apni jagah pe bane huye hain, par BhaJaPa ko samjhna padega local elections, local mudde pe lade jaate hain.” (BJP must understand local elections are fought on local issues.)
Both agree the politics of “muftkhori” is winning.The conversation takes a bizarre turn when Chaudhary suggests that if Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf stands for elections in Delhi, it would win if it offers to pay EMIs for Delhi’s electorate. Gupta agrees. Clearly the results continue to give Chaudhary massive heartburn.
NDTV has been given crew space away from other media channels at the BJP Delhi office.
On NDTV India, Ravish Kumar has minimal boxy holographs in the middle of the discussion table. We are eagerly waiting for him to get into an animated helicopter and fly over an animated Delhi.
On Mirror Now, BJP's Anila Singh talks about the AAP's 'freebies model': 'As a BJP worker and spokesperson, I know the game of freebies has never been very successful in the long run.'
Amit Malviya on Times Now: Delhi electorate is getting more and more bipolar.
We think he wants to say it's become a contest between the AAP and BJP.
On NDTV India, a panellist asks AAP's Saurabh Bharadwaj why they stopped revealing donation details to the AAP. Saurabh says a lot of donors were being harassed so they didn't want their names to be publicly revealed. So AAP switched to crowdfunding the elections instead, using a third-party platform.
Amit Malviya prepares to go live on Times Now at the BJP Delhi office
On India Today, an anchor says: “I just got a message from someone from AAP who says you guys don’t question Amit Shah when he says ‘abki baar 70 paar’, now you’re asking us about the 60 mark.” We’re informed that the seventh round of counting has just begun. Rajdeep Sardesai says there are still five more rounds to go.
A panellist also tells Rajdeep: "The problem with you is you concoct a lot of theories on air, and then find scapegoats like the BJP to pin the blame."
The Election Commission has announced leads in all 70 constituencies: the AAP leads in 55 and the BJP in 15.
Our reporters are on the ground. Here are a couple of updates from party offices.
The Congress's AR Chowdhury tells ANI that 'everyone knew the AAP would return to power for the third time'
Election Commission updates! The AAP leads in 52 constituencies, the BJP in 17.
Most news channels now place AAP at 53 and BJP at 17.
An Amit Shah poster at BJP Delhi headquarters: 'Victory doesn't make us boastful, and defeat doesn't upset us.'
Chetan Bhagat asks, 'What is happening in New Delhi?'
Analyst: 'AAP leading in most seats there.'
Navika's conclusion: 'The Khan Market Gang is holding out.'
On Aaj Tak, it's JP Nadda versus Arvind Kejriwal. Nadda took over as the national president of the BJP on January 20, 2020. Most reports around the Delhi election, however, suggest that the Delhi election was micromanaged by Home Minister Amit Shah.
The AAP is leading in 47 constituencies and the BJP in 19.
On Times Now, anchor Navika Kumar says on 27 seats, the margin is less than 1,000 per cent. “Votes, you mean,” says AAP panellist. Kumar says only two rounds have been completed yet.
Manoj Tiwari holds on to hope. Tells reporters that BJP got more votes after 2.30 pm on polling day and that they have performed better than their expectations.
More visuals from the AAP office where a fruitseller is distributing oranges for free in support of Kejriwal.
Amidst flashy graphics, Republic asks: "ON 'DANDA' QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT GOLI COMMENT?"
From time to time, Arnab Goswami sprints to an area where some manly men are discussing elections. It's yet unclear why there is a designated area for this bunch of people.
Scenes from the AAP office, where a large screen has been set up outside to project leads and results.
The BJP's Lalitha Kumaramangalam tells NDTV that Kejriwal's persona 'has been built up to the extent that he stands as a mini-Modi in Delhi'. Prannoy Roy remarks, 'I wonder what he'd think of that.'
The Election Commission says the AAP is leading in 39 seats and the BJP in 19.
On ABP News, PM Modi, Delhi incumbent CM Arvind Kejriwal, and INC president Sonia Gandhi are waving hands. Anchor Rubika Liyaquat says Kejriwal’s hand seems a bit stuck.
Newslaundry's Veena Nair is at the Congress office where everything's quiet. Only posters of Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are on display.
There's heavy media presence inside and outside the BJP office. Spokespersons speaking to the media insist the BJP will bridge the gap and take a lead soon.
Instagrammers! Meghnad S is going to do lives all day from our Instagram handle to bring you all the fun things about Delhi Elections. Follow @newslaundry on Instagram!
Some confusion regarding the AAP's Atishi. NDTV reports that she's now leading but Republic very emphatically says she's trailing.
Rajdeep Sardesai asks if polarisation worked. A panelist says it’s mobilisation — she says 1,000s of BJP workers from UP and Haryana descended onto Delhi, stayed in Dalit bastis, and hung out at teashops and helped create a buzz. Meanwhile, a new AAP poster emerges — connect with AAP for nation building.
Let's take a quick look at leads on the Election Commission website. The AAP is leading in 22 seats and the BJP in 14.
India Today's Rajdeep Sardesai says if the BJP can claim 20 seats, it can say it has made a mini-comeback in Delhi. Another anchor states that internally, the BJP-RSS is hoping for 28 seats.
On Times Now, Navika Kumar says Manish Sisodia is trailing by 38 votes. It's just 38 votes, she adds, but she asks anyway: 'Does this create a flutter in your hearts?'
Aaj Tak has a two-camera setup at AAP headquarters this time around, showing celebrations there. One of them seems to be of a top-view camera shot. Is it a drone or is it not a drone, that is the question.
Aaj Tak has a 'computer baba' which is breaking down the constituency-wise election numbers.
CNN News18’s Zakka Jacob says the margins are very close. The latest projections on the channel places AAP at 41. Anchor Bhupendra Chaubey notes that it’s strange that counting has not begun in 10 seats, which he says is a big story.
Shreya Dhondial says though the EC website is not refreshing the numbers, she has received numbers from the ground — AAP is leading in Greater Kailash, Mataia Mahal and Burari. BJP is leading in Kalkaji where the AAP's Atishi is trailing by 190 votes.
The Election Commission website finally shows leads: the AAP and BJP lead in one seat each.
Celebrations have already begun at the AAP office, says ANI, after reports that the party's leading in early trends.
Contrary to chatter on Twitter last night, at least Zee News is using Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image to represent BJP’s poll tally. The channel’s anchor-editor, who wasn’t exactly happy with the exit poll numbers, asked his reporter at the Aam Aadmi Party headquarters: “Mithai batne lag gayi hai?” (Have they started distributing sweets?)
He goes on to says BJP must learn somethings from AAP — “they were very good at event management, media communication and their digital campaign.”
On NDTV, Shekhar Gupta's observation about the electorate:
"Elections are not fought for certain sections of Twitter liberals who go away on the weekend instead of voting."
NDTV's election trends at 8.15 am show the AAP comfortably in the lead.
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